U.S. Green Building Council Releases LEED Rating System for Retail

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released a new retail-specific rating system for LEED building certification. The LEED for Retail rating system was developed with the support of nearly 100 pilot participants, including members of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) such as Delhaize America, Best Buy, Target, Staples and REI. The program will enable retailers to better integrate sustainability into their real-estate footprint, according to the trade group.

"Retail industry leaders recognize the powerful financial and environmental impact to be had through their sustainability activities," Adam Siegel, vice president of sustainability and retail operations for RILA, said in a statement. "The increasing emphasis on building LEED is emblematic of the industry's expanding and ever-evolving sustainability efforts."

The new retail rating system builds on the long-established LEED for New Construction and LEED for Commercial Interiors rating systems, with adjustments and modifications made to accommodate the distinct needs of retail space. Key considerations include occupancy, waste streams, energy consumption and water use, said Scot Horst, senior vice president of LEED.

As natural resources grow more precious and environmental concerns become more immediate, many retail organizations are working to ensure their actions are part of the solution that consumers and governments are demanding. Building to LEED criteria -- with its very rigorous standards and requirements for precise documentation -- enables retailers to tangibly quantify the results of their efforts, RILA noted. Third-party inspection verifies building performance across relevant metrics and adds credibility to green building achievements.

More than 650 retail projects have already achieved LEED certification, and more than 4,000 additional projects have been registered and are working towards LEED certification.

The LEED for Retail rating system was voted on and approved by 92 percent of the USGBC's membership in March 2010. USGBC recently created LEED for Retail reference guides and a LEED online documentation tool, both of which are available at www.usgbc.org/leed/retail.

RILA is the trade association for the world's largest and most innovative retail companies. Members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

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